Effectiveness of methods used to teach breast self-examination

S. E. Bennett, R. S. Lawrence, D. F. Angiolillo, S. D. Bennett, S. Budman, G. M. Schneider, A. R. Assaf, M. Feldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The efficacy of breast self-examination (BSE) is limited by the extent to which women can be taught to perform a frequent and proficient examination. We randomized 783 women from a health maintenance organization into group instruction, individual instruction, individual instruction with a reminder system, or minimal intervention designed to simulate an office encounter where BSE was encouraged but not taught. The percentage of lumps 1 cm and smaller detected in silicone breast models, the number of false-positive detections, the search technique, and the self-reported BSE frequency were measured before and four months after intervention. Multiple tests for comparisons of interventions showed that the interventions containing BSE instruction were comparable in increasing true- and false-positive detection of lumps and in improving search technique, but the minimal intervention resulted in lower scores for all three outcomes (P < .0001). Women in all four intervention groups increased their BSE frequency over the four-month follow-up period, but the greatest improvement in frequency was reported among women receiving reminders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-217
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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